In a speech at the National Conservatism Conference, Peter Thiel addressed China’s ties to Google. Thiel is the billionaire, co-founder of PayPal, and Facebook board member. In part, Thiel’s speech listed three questions which should be asked of Google.
“Number one, how many foreign intelligence agencies have infiltrated your Manhattan Project for AI?
“Number two, does Google’s senior management consider itself to have been thoroughly infiltrated by Chinese intelligence?
“Number three, is it because they consider themselves to be so thoroughly infiltrated that they have engaged in the seemingly treasonous decision to work with the Chinese military and not with the US military… because they are making the sort of bad, short-term rationalistic [decision] that if the technology doesn’t go out the front door, it gets stolen out the backdoor anyway?”
To what extent is Silicon Valley pursuing pluralism? Pluralism is the view that politics and decision making are located mostly in the framework of government, but that many non-governmental groups use their resources to exert influence. How power and influence are distributed in a political process is the central question. Groups of individuals try to maximize their interests. Lines of conflict are multiple and shifting as power is a continuous bargaining process between competing groups.
Where does that leave us?
Given that Facebook is moving into cryptocurrency which the Fed views as banking. Given that Google has chosen to work with the Chinese military and boycotts the U.S. military. There does seem room for asking questions. What do Big Tech’s actions tell us about probable outcomes moving forward? Does Big Tech consider itself a kind of shadow government? Is it friendly to Americans or does Big Tech see us as a power base in its own game?